The James Plays to tour UK in 2016

The James Plays are set to embark on a UK-wide tour from Feb 2016, beginning at Edinburgh Festival Theatre

The James Plays to tour UK in 2016

James McArdle in 2014's James I / Credit: Manuel Harlan

Following critical acclaim at the Edinburgh International Festival in 2014, The James Plays will be returning to the Edinburgh Festival Theatre in February 2016, before embarking on a UK and international tour which stops in Glasgow, Inverness, Newcastle, Salford, Birmingham, Leicester and Plymouth.

After debuting at EIF last summer, the trilogy of plays subsequently sold out two runs at the Olivier Theatre in London, before picking up the Evening Standard Theatre Award for Best New Play and the Writers' Guild Award for Best New Play (James I).

Written by Rona Munro and directed by National Theatre of Scotland artistic director Laurie Sansom, the plays tell the stories of James I, II and III in separate performances.

James I: The Key Will Keep The Lock sees the complex king return to Scotland after 18 years in an English prison, determined to bring rule of law to a land of warring families.

James II: Day of the Innocents portrays the boy king as a puppet, with the most powerful families in Scotland all striving to control him.

James III: The True Mirror features an irresistible, charming ruler that is both loved and hated by his people.

Viewed separately, each play conveys a country torn between its past and its future; viewed together, the productions offer an interesting commentary on Scottish nationhood.

The UK tour will run from February to July 2016, with English venues offering audiences the chance to watch all three plays in one day, on a Saturday or a Sunday. The Scottish venues’ performance schedules will vary, providing triple bills as well as individual performances. The international touring dates are yet to be announced.

Tickets are on sale to the general public from now, with some dates yet to go on sale. See for more information.

James I: The Key Will Keep The Lock

  • 4 stars

Part of a cycle of history plays by Rona Munro. This first play, based around the first James of the Stewart Kings, portrays the struggles and choices he makes to try and save himself, his Queen and his crown.

James III: The True Mirror

  • 4 stars

The final part of the James Plays portraying James III, his grand schemes and the women who behind him.

James II: Day of The Innocents

  • 2 stars

The tale of James II of the Stewart Kings.


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